Watch just 10 seconds of the trailer for Netflix's new sci-fi thriller and I guarantee you'll be dying to know — what year is I Am Mother set in? The Sundance film —about a human raised by a robot meant to repopulate Earth after all other humans become extinct — drops on Friday June 7. I think everyone can agree right now that it's not set in present day.
I was unable to confirm an exact year for you. But according to TV Guide it is set "far in the future." The exact year isn't a central detail to the plot, trust me. It turns out that the robot the girl (Clara Rugaard) calls Mother (Rose Byrne) has been lying to the girl she calls Daughter. There actually is life on Earth, and the first hint Daughter gets of that is the arrival of an injured woman (Hilary Swank) who tries to convince Daughter that her Mother is not good. At the same time, Mother is trying to convince Daughter that she's not like other robots of her kind that hurt Woman.
That's a frightening tug-of-war for a teenage girl to be in the middle of. Her life may depend on going against the Mother she knows and trusting a stranger. I imagine that feeling of fear was sometimes palpable while filming on set. But there is no way to prepare for a conflict like this, and that's what drew Rugaard to the role. "There isn’t really any research to be done on [having a robot as a mother], it’s a unique situation," she said in an interview with Film Inquiry. "I think that’s also part of what drew me to this character, as well as the script. It was very unique, and I knew it would be a massive challenge."
I had so many questions after watching the trailer above that my head started spinning. Does Mother love Daughter? How would Daughter know? Has Mother planned to hurt Daughter all along? I'm going to stop there to avoid spiraling. Because Swank told ET Canada there are no answers. “We don’t program them. They’re built and then they have their experiences but they’re so exponentially smarter and they learn so much quicker but… do they have the ability to empathize? she said. "We don’t know that, we don’t know… you don’t know when they start having experiences with human beings that hopefully have empathy how they will react and walk around in the world.”
I was starting to wonder why a science fiction movie was inspiring so much fear in me. It's fake, after all. But Swank confirmed that my fears are valid in an interview with Parade.com. "The fact that they could take over one day, is not such a far-fetched idea."
The moral of this story is that horror movie fans might also love this film. It's making me scared to trust Siri at the moment, so I'm not sure my heart can take it. Someone tweet me if Daughter makes it out alive.